Fashion Fever

Friday, 2016, April 8

In last month’s U.K. Edition of The Art Newspaper journalist Martin Bailey reported on how a collection of costumes, once adorned by David Bowie, became the most successful travelling exhibition in the history the Victoria & Albert museum.  Following a record-breaking opening run in London the collection was loaned to museums as far flung as Chicago, Melbourne and Paris.  Every international show was a sell-out.  The 2015 Alexander McQueen exhibition, ‘Savage Beauty’, had also been a blockbuster, a haute couture extravaganza. .

A collection of stunning haute couture dresses create an impressive finale to the current block buster Salvador Dalí exhibition currently on view in Liege until 31.08.2016 .  The last gallery in the show is dedicated to an important aspect of Salvador Dalí’s oeuvre – his relationship with the world of fashion.  A spokesman for The Dalí Universe commented “the public response to the small selection from our Dalí à la Mode collection on view in Liege has been overwhelming. We look forward to bringing the entire collection together in a major future exhibition.”

The concept that art and fashion are an extension of each other is brought dramatically to life through the Dalí à la Mode collection. The Dalí Universe, came up with the brilliant idea of interpreting Salvador Dalí Surrealist world through fashion.  Leading designers were asked to give free rein to their imagination and interpret Dalí’s Surrealism through their designs – a personal tribute to the man and artist.  The eight dresses on view in Liege are in actual fact a small part of a much larger collection. In total over thirty-one unique creations were produced over a period of some thirty years the most famous names in fashion including Paco Rabanne, Zandra Rhodes, Paul Smith, Catherine Walker, Sonia Rykiel and Manish Arora. These designers produced stunning haute couture pieces inspired by the art of Salvador Dalí. Three Italian designers who are involved in the project are Nicola Trussardi, Franco Moschino and Enrico Coveri.

Dalí himself adored fashion; indeed one of his most well-known sculptures was entitled Hommage à la Mode. His flamboyant style was displayed through his choice of clothes or the way he wore his moustache.

Dalí made important contributions to theatrical productions, designing costumes and stage sets such as Bacchanale, New York 1939. The revolutionary and scandalous sets and costumes he designed in collaboration with his friend Coco Chanel, were a tremendous success.

Dalí’s fascination with jewelry encouraged him to design jewels in the 40’s based on his sketches. According to Dalí, gold was a “celebration of the soul, a sign of purity”.  The Eye of Time based on The Persistence of Memory, and Ruby Lips broach inspired by Mae Wests’ lips, are to name a few.

The queen of pop Lady Gaga, with her extravagant style, has been known to borrow ideas from Dalí. She has used incredibly similar hats, with telephone and lobster motifs. Her meat/flesh dress which she wore to the MTV Video Music awards in 2010 was inspired by Dalí’s and Schiap’s Tear dress. One can’t but help compare the long-legged piano used in one of her concerts to Dalí’s elephant’s with long thin legs from his painting  The Temptation of St. Anthony.

Over the years, the collection of dresses has continued to grow, giving ever more form to Mr Levi’s initial idea to invite designers to collaborate in the creation of the Collection. Mr Levi, President of the Stratton Foundation and curator of the Dalí Universe believes that Dalí à la Mode is both an extension of the Stratton Foundation’s appreciation of the artist and a reflection of the artist himself.  Dalí’s great versatility allowed him to experiment with a wide range of media, including the fashion and haute couture industry, the results of which can still be seen inspiring the designers of today.  It is this versatility and inspiration which is captured and successfully brought to life through the variety and originality of the dresses in Dalí à la Mode collection.

The collection of thirty-one dresses presented by the Dalí Universe, are all available for hire, to tour as a Collection on exhibit in museums and locations internationally.